Wow! I can't believe it has been two years already that Vlad has been home, even though at times it feels like he has been here forever. A memory on Facebook popped up the other day of us waiting at the airport to pick him up at the airport for our first hosting experience. It is crazy to think that we met our son just 3 years ago. And in those 3 years there have been many ups and downs, plenty of yelling, crying, learning, loving, and laughing. It has taken time but we have found our way as a family. The first year was by far the hardest and most physically and emotionally draining year of my life, and let me tell you I have experienced some dewsies. But we kept pushing and moving forward trying to grow and learn from our experiences and mistakes.
You know how parents tell their children they will always love them no matter what, that their love is unconditional and forever. This was something I truly had to learn and embrace, and was only done through prayer and Gods grace alone. When a child tests you, knows exactly what to say to hurt you and try to push you away, there is only so much a person can do and take before wanting to give up. Luckily I have an amazing group of adoption friends who have been there to listen, cry, laugh with and support me when I needed it most. And I have grown so much as a person and mother, and know that my love for all my children is unconditional (though I have no issue stopping the car and making you walk the rest of the way home if you are going to be hurtful or disrespectful).
As a family we have learned to trust one another in new ways, and know that we will have the others back no matter what. When Vlad first came home we tried to teach him this idea and the desire to protect ones family. We had asked if he would care if when his sister was older she would date guys older than her that didn't treat girls with respect. At that time he said he wouldn't care because it is her life and she should be able to do what she wants. We had this same discussion a few weeks ago and he had completely changed his view. He said there was nonwaybhebwoukd let her date someone like that and if anyone were to mess with her he would hurt them. I reminded him of our earlier conversation and he said, i know I was stupid before and have learned a lot since then. This right there was worth all the struggles. He gets what it means to be a part of a family! I wanted to get up and fist pump and shout YES! But I remained calm (afraid I would scare him off) and proceeded to have a wonderful and insightful conversation about how different his life is now as well as the way he thinks.
Two years have changed our family in so many ways, both as a whole and as individuals. We have lost family members, helped family members fight cancer, gone from 2 kids to 4, raised a teenager, watched Vlad graduate from High school (and going into labor at the same time), watched as Vlad builds relationships with family and for them to embrace him as their own. Baby Olivia was born 6/3/16, and brought everyone closer together. We took our first family vacation and were able to just enjoy spending time with each other, well, at least some of the time.